Our colleague Douglas Farah offers some interesting analysis into Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.
While Abdulmutallab is cast as a lone attacker, a vast support structure that goes well beyond sewing PETN into his underwear put him on that airplane. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claims credit for the attack, but Abdulmutallab's radicalization reportedly took place while he studied in London. Farah points to Abdulmutallab's leadership role of the Islamic Society at while a college student in London. The Society is an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, a global movement that seeks to spread Shariah law throughout the world.
Likewise, Ramy Zamzam, the leader of the five D.C.-area college students arrested en route to try to join the jihad against American troops in Afghanistan, served as president of the Muslim Students Association MSA DC Council.
Part of the Brotherhood's message, Farah writes, resonates with lonely or otherwise unhappy people:
"So, you have lonely, alienated and unhappy people, in effect being told that their alienation is a sign that they are close to Allah and on their way to salvation. What is required of them? To use whatever means available to attack the current system perpetrated by infidels, and bring about a new, Islamic world.
Not everyone who joins the Brotherhood ends up committing acts of terrorism. But it is certainly one of the key gateways to radicalization, and one that provides a community and support structure for those who do."
It's a disservice, Farah concludes, to view individual attacks in isolation when there's often an ideologically thread that binds them together. Read Farah's full article here.